As the curtain falls on the year, one of the most powerful players in the new parliament looks back on his successes. Nick Xenophon nominates whistleblower protections and procurement law changes negotiated alongside the government’s industrial relations legislation as major achievements.
“The government has agreed to sweeping changes to whistleblower protections in this country. Compensation for whistleblowers will be built into the registered organisations legislation that will apply to unions and employer organisations but most importantly it will also apply to corporations and to the public sector in the next 18 months and we’ve already begun the process on that.
"The other big achievement, just a few days ago, was with the ABCC legislation. The government has agreed to procurement law changes which will mean for the first time we’re more in line with some of our major trading partners,” Xenophon says.
Xenophon tells Michelle Grattan that his team will have hard negotiations with the government “but we like to think that if we reach a consensus, a compromise, we do so in good faith which I think is mutually beneficial to both parties”.
“I think the government can expect more of the same and I think the government is prepared to sit down and talk to us about areas of common ground.”
Reflecting on One Nation, Xenophon describes the relationship between his and Pauline Hanson’s teams as “courteous”.
“Even though I made it clear that I don’t agree with them on their views on immigration, on race, on religion. Attacking Islam is not what we do. We think we are a multicultural society and tolerance is the key and obviously we have very different views on climate change.
"But where there’s common ground – such as issues on procurement, on Australian jobs, on food labelling, on farmers getting a fair go – obviously where there’s common ground we’ll work together.”